THE official opening of the world’s first Erratic® Ride featuring its proprietary Popcorn Revenge® IP took place in May at Walibi Belgium.
According to the ride’s developer Alterface, the Popcorn Revenge® Erratic® Ride at the park is the first member of a new family of “visitor-centric” experiences. The compact version as created for Walibi Belgium can be accommodated within a space of just 400sq.m, while larger parks requiring higher throughput can turn to the XXL version. The concept can also be applied to duelling rides or other interactive attractions, featuring diverse characters and themes.
The Erratic® Ride contains a wealth of projection techniques, video mapping, 3D shooting and special effects, as can be found in many Alterface signature rides around the world. Combined with a unique touch of “choreography”, the Erratic® Ride turns transitions between scenes into fun experiences, whereas in more traditional solutions these transitions can be rather clumsy and disruptive, as Benoit Cornet, CEO and founder of Alterface explained.
“Non-linear ride considerations have been on our mind for a long time, but this particular concept came to life as we were disappointed with existing platform-based solutions. It was time for a higher capacity yet compact ride. The traditional ‘turntable’ system was weak on gameplay with problematic transitions and movements. So we combined our SaltoTM show control engine with interactive technology and trackless vehicles, resulting in a totally new concept.”
And he continued: “Contrary to the usual approach of a company ‘selling’ limited rights to use a portion of their IP, Alterface has introduced a more dynamic and accessible solution. The Popcorn Revenge IP is offered at a very affordable price and includes access to a variety of merchandising products. Profits are shared on these products and a significant portion of the profits is re-invested in the IP itself which eventually benefits the park. This is therefore not a ‘static’ IP the park gets access to, but a constantly evolving asset, both in media and in merchandising, leading to more brand appeal and obviously profit on both sides. We believe this is the best way to secure an evergreen media-based attraction.”
Built as part of Walibi’s new Karma World area, featuring the Bollywood Indian movie industry in classy, stylish decors, the park chose Popcorn Revenge® for three main reasons. Firstly, anyone can easily shoot without training or explanation and still experience a very challenging gameplay. Secondly, young and old can have fun together, as a family or with friends. And finally, the indoor aspect of the attraction makes it particularly appealing; as Belgium weather conditions are not always ideal, it is a benefit for the park to have strong indoor attractions.
Alterface partnered with a number of companies in the creation of the project, including Jora Vision (theming and decor), ETF Ride Systems (ride vehicles), Barco (projection technology) and Painting with Light (light technology).
Discussing the attraction further, Jean-Christophe Parent, managing director of Walibi Belgium, commented: “Our request to Alterface was to create an exciting cinema world with an innovative touch in terms of ride experience. They have met and even exceeded these expectations — there is currently no such attraction on the market in any other park. The popcorn expressions and gags are universal and appeal to all ages, with unsurpassed image rendering and projection quality. The new Erratic® Ride obviously involved some technical challenges but we managed to get it all right and work smoothly together with the Alterface teams and expert partners. Seeing the unique jewel that we produced, we can now celebrate and enjoy it.”
And he further explained what Popcorn Revenge is all about and its storyline.
“The Popcorn Revenge concept, developed by Alterface, guarantees fun and challenges. Popcorn pieces are tired of being eaten by cinema guests, so they revolt and get out of control. They pop out of their boxes and annoy visitors who shoot and immobilise them with a caramel dispenser, thus saving the movie theatre. This takes place across individual mini-theatres guests are visiting, with popcorn characters featuring pirates to space men, depending on the playing film. Guests can take
the ride together and build a high score on an individual basis, making it also exciting for those into gaming. What is so unique about this ride is that it’s not linear — the route and sequence changes for each individual ride, making it a different experience every time.”
So why was the attraction chosen for Walibi Belgium and how does it stand out?
“Popcorn Revenge is a ground-breaking world premiere,” Parent added, “aligning image technology and erratic, or unpredictable, movements. Not knowing in advance the route you will take as a visitor makes for a very thrilling experience. It definitely creates a new sensation and we are very proud to be the first park in the world to offer this attraction.”
The new popcorn IP is fully-owned and patented by Alterface. The company’s creative studio worked hard to pre-design a broad range of characters suitable for any movie theme such as pirates, space, horror, magic and superheroes. However, Alterface recognises that every show or attraction is as dynamic as the movie business, so new and additional characters can be created and integrated into the game and environment. The characters are also very versatile and can be easily adapted to market and cultural preferences, or even geographic features.
The intention is to make the IP evolve so that, besides the cinema and studio sectors, it can fit with any type of environment, such as museums, restaurants, shopping malls and many more. As a universal IP, it will be developed into further attractions, while offering plenty of opportunities for merchandising, shooting game stations, mobile games, emoji/meme/gif and so on. Further development of the IP will be shared with Alterface partners in an open and free manner.
“We are very excited to see the popcorn characters come to life and bring the new Erratic® Ride concept to fruition,” Cornet concluded. “The user experience was the starting point of our erratic vision; Popcorn Revenge® in Walibi Belgium demonstrates that it is definitely the way forward. We have been rewriting the rules of visitor-centric attractions!”
Popcorn Revenge® at a glance
Ride duration – 3-4 minutes
Number of popcorns to shoot – 1,000
Overall track length – 99m
Hourly capacity – 560
Number of shooting devices – 42
Number of cameras – 11
Rider vehicles – 7
Projection – 8 monitors and 9 projectors